Individual differences in eyewitness accuracy across multiple lineups of faces

Andrew J Russ, Melanie Sauerland, Charlotte E Lee, Markus Bindemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Theories of face recognition in cognitive psychology stipulate that the hallmark of accurate identification is the ability to recognize a person consistently, across different encounters. In this study, we apply this reasoning to eyewitness identification by assessing the recognition of the same target person repeatedly, over six successive lineups. Such repeat identifications are challenging and can be performed only by a proportion of individuals, both when a target exhibits limited and more substantial variability in appearance across lineups (Experiments 1 and 2). The ability to do so correlates with individual differences in identification accuracy on two established tests of unfamiliar face recognition (Experiment 3). This indicates that most observers have limited facial representations of target persons in eyewitness scenarios, which do not allow for robust identification in most individuals, partly due to limitations in their ability to recognize unfamiliar faces. In turn, these findings suggest that consistency of responses across multiple lineups of faces could be applied to assess which individuals are accurate eyewitnesses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive research: principles and implications
Volume3
Issue number30
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • DEVELOPMENTAL PROSOPAGNOSIA
  • NEURAL SYSTEM
  • Face recognition
  • REPRESENTATIONS
  • PERFORMANCE
  • IDENTIFICATION ACCURACY
  • RECOGNITION ABILITY
  • Eyewitness identification
  • MEMORY
  • FAMILIARITY
  • Individual differences
  • Multiple lineups
  • SELECTION
  • EXPOSURE

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